Duke completes senior management line-up as Stokes joins as CSO

Duke, the creative start-up founded by Johnny Fearless' Neil Hughston, has appointed Stephen Stokes as the agency's chief strategy officer.

Duke's senior team: Hughston, Stokes, Howard, Tanner
Duke's senior team: Hughston, Stokes, Howard, Tanner

Stokes has a media agency background and is a former strategy director at Manning Gottlieb OMD, but most recently has freelanced as a planner at creative agencies including Grey London and The Red Brick Road.

Reporting to Hughston, the chief executive of Duke, Stokes’ remit will be to build the agency’s strategic output and planning department. 

Hughston founded Duke in December 2015 after Johnny Fearless folded earlier in the year.

Before freelancing, Stokes was a managing partner, strategy, for five months at VCCP Media. He was previously a strategy director at Manning Gottlieb OMD for five years, during which time he won a Cannes Lion for Renault and a Gold IPA Effectiveness Award for his strategy on Dacia.

Stokes becomes a partner in the business and takes an equity share alongside Hughston, Jo Tanner and Mark Howard. 

Tanner and Howard, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, HHCL and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the 90s, are the agency’s joint executive creative directors.

Stokes said: "I’m a big believer in the need for brands to be bolder, especially when this philosophy is backed up by empirical evidence from the likes of the IPA with their Fame analysis and Brainjuicer’s case for highly emotional advertising in their Feelmore50 study.

"Joining a like-minded team at Duke who have lived this belief through their careers is a fantastic opportunity."

Hughston said that a new planning approach that merges Stokes’ brand planning and comms strategy experience will incubate bolder creativity.

He added: "Many of the best modern ideas for brands are at the crossroads between creative, media, social, digital and mobile and this requires a new breed of planner".


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